The growing shortage of marriageable men

As women’s economic prospects have risen in recent decades, and that of many men, especially many working class men have declined, so have the odds of some people ever getting married. To put it bluntly; a man with good earning prospects has a better chance of getting married than a man with poor earning prospects. A new study confirms this.  It finds that in the US, only two-thirds of unmarried women aged 25-45 are likely to find a marriage match that suits them.

The research has assessed the degree of mismatch between “the characteristics that unmarried women seek in a spouse and their availability in the population of currently unmarried men”. (p. 2)

Women, on average, tend to marry men that have higher levels of education or income. Compared to the past, not only do more women go into education nowadays but, also, they are often more educated than men. This makes the marriage match more difficult.

The research confirmed that, in the U.S., there is an ‘excess supply’ of men with low income and education. This is one of the reasons for the decline of marriage among females.

Unmarried women face a shortage of economically attractive and educated partners, while they are “exposed with a surplus of men with only a high school degree or an income under $20,000 a year.”

When they delay marriage to acquire further education women move into categories where the supply of marriageable men declines.

Results also indicated that younger women, white women, and less-educated women are more likely to have matches available to them nearby, while women who don’t fit in these categories are more likely to find their matches nationwide rather than locally.

The researchers conclude that most women still have aspirations of marriage, but the market is more competitive, and the number of marriageable men is declining. In order address this we, as a society, need to find ways to improve the economic and educational prospects of lower income men.